ALBANY, N.Y. -- Following a year-long fight, Senator Marc Panepinto (D-Buffalo) announced the Senate passed a full repeal of Gap Elimination Adjustment funding today. The announcement comes following a 53-9 vote on S.6377 which eliminates the remainder of Gap Elimination Adjustment amounts for school districts.
Since taking office, Senator Panepinto has tirelessly fought for the full repeal of the GEA. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with 12 regional education leaders in March, Senator Panepinto called on Senate Republicans to place children first during 2015-2016 budget negotiations, securing more than $44 million on behalf of schools in the 60th State Senate District.
“In my first year as Senator, I’ve had the opportunity to witness it firsthand: districts struggling to provide the resources necessary for the education our students deserve; municipalities struggling to stay within the restrictive tax cap,” said Senator Panepinto. “No more. Today, we make the first move toward putting an end to the unfair financial burden Senate Republicans have allowed our schools to suffer through for far too long. Today, our students, teachers and administrators take steps toward the social and economic justice they rightfully deserve. The full repeal of Gap Elimination Adjustment funding not only strengthens the foundation of our children’s education, but provides a welcome relief from increasing property taxes statewide. I am calling on my colleagues in the Assembly to carry this meaningful legislation and join me in the fight to restore equity to our schools.”
Hamburg Central School Superintendent Michael Cornell said, “Voting to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment is a big step in the right direction in the effort to fully fund New York State's Public Schools. We appreciate Senator Panepinto's vote today to end the GEA, his passionate support for public education, as well his continuing advocacy for the Hamburg Central School District.”
This has been a long time in coming and we are thankful to Senator Marc Panepinto and others who listened, advocated and voted overwhelmingly in favor of a full restoration of the GEA,” said Dr. Teresa Lawrence, Grand Island Central Schools Superintendent. “Students and taxpayers across the state, but especially all of us here in WNY benefit from this action.
As a result of Senator Panepinto’s efforts, 58.3 percent of the GEA was eliminated in the 2015-2016 budget for nine school districts within the 60th State Senate District. A breakdown of funding percentages restored to those districts is as follows:
- Buffalo Public Schools: 98% restored
- Frontier Central School District: 63.4% restored
- Grand Island Central School District: 37.1% restored
- Hamburg Central School District: 63.2% restored
- Lake Shore Central School District: 38.8% restored
- Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda UFSD: 64% restored
- Orchard Park Central School District: 36.2% restored
- Sweet Home Central School District: 38.8% restored
- Tonawanda City School District: 63.5% restored
Senator Panepinto represents the 60th Senate District, which includes parts of the City of Buffalo as well as communities in both the Northtowns and the Southtowns of Western New York.